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HealthInfo Canterbury

Oral allergy syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome is an allergic reaction in your mouth and throat that happens after eating certain foods. It happens because there are proteins in some raw fruit, vegetables, or nuts that have a similar structure to pollens. Your immune system can confuse these proteins for pollen, leading to an allergic reaction.

Oral allergy syndrome can cause tingling, itching, redness and swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat. It normally happens five to 10 minutes after eating. These symptoms are usually mild and don't last long.

The fruits and vegetables that most commonly cause symptoms are apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, carrot, potato, cabbage, and celery.

Birch pollen allergy is a major cause of oral allergy syndrome.

There are no treatments for oral allergy syndrome except to avoid fruits, nuts, and vegetables that cause you problems. You may be able to tolerate peeled, cooked, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables better.

You don't need to see your GP unless you develop more severe symptoms. Oral allergy syndrome rarely progresses to anaphylaxis. Avoiding food that causes your symptoms is the best treatment.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2018.

Page reference: 48934

Review key: HIOAS-25338